Malpractice and theft alleged by Former WMA chief

Former WMA chief Jim Wiatt has filed a lawsuit against former financial adviser Kenneth Starr and his attorney, Jonathan Bristol, alleging malpractice and theft.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey by Wiatt and his wife, Elizabeth, claims that Bristol stole $2 million through his attorney trust account in TD Bank. Federal prosecutors indicted Bristol last week, claiming he conspired with Starr to launder more than $20 million in stolen investor funds through attorney trust accounts. Starr, a former high-flying Wall Street investment manager, is in jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in September to defrauding his clients of more than $50 million.

In their suit, the Wiatts maintain that Bristol, along with his firm Winston & Strawn, represented the couple in dealings with the Securities & Exchange Commission — dealings that turned out to be an investigation of Starr and Bristol themselves.

Wiatt attorney David S. Stone said the SEC contacted Jim Wiatt regarding an investigation into Starr but was cagey about the details.

“(Wiatt) called Starr and actually asked him, essentially, ‘Are you another Madoff?'” Stone said. “And Starr told him no.”

Winston & Strawn noted in a statement that it is cooperating with authorities in the Bristol case.

Wiatt exited WMA after its merger last year with Endeavor. He now serves as a strategic adviser to AOL.

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